The Growth stage of the New Enterprise Competition (NEC) is now open for applications. This stage offers up to £20,000 of funding and pro-bon support to help launch, advance, and grow your start-up to realise its full potential. The competition is open to final year students and recent graduates.
We had a catch-up with Young Goat, the 2021 People’s Choice Award winners, to see what they had been up to since winning £2,000 in last year’s competition.
Can you summarise what Young Goat is?
Young Goat is a Bristol-born streetwear brand founded by a group of mates with a simple ethos: anyone can be the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
Where did the idea for Young Goat come from?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how it started, but as a group we would regularly use the acronym, ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All Time), as a compliment to recognise each other’s achievements, whatever they may be.
For us, being the GOAT is all about committing to personal development and being the best version of yourself. This is something individual; defined and measured by you. Young Goat was created so that people could wear these ideals proudly.
Why did you choose to apply for the NEC last year?
Aside from the obvious financial incentive, we were keen to get expert opinions on our idea and our pitch. We all began our journey with no fashion or business experience, and so hearing feedback was crucial in helping us set up a strong foundation.
What did applying to the NEC do for your start-up?
Winning the subsequent award was fantastic, not only for the financial reward but also as it reaffirmed our belief in what we were doing. If you begin a clothing company with no fashion or business experience, there are going to be a few moments where you doubt yourself and everything around you! So, to hear from a panel of experts that we were heading in the right direction was great.
What have you done since winning the NEC last year?
Since winning we have continued to spread our ethos far and wide, with Young Goat now represented in 54 different countries, something we’re hugely proud of. We have increased our product range, streamlined our business practices and turned what we thought was a good brand/idea into a reputable company.
Our biggest undertaking though was a national charity campaign to raise money for Black Minds Matter, a charity who connects black individuals and families with free mental health services. For the campaign, we released a t-shirt to the public, with all profits from it donated to BMMUK. The campaign coincided with Black History Month and we’re hugely proud of how it went, raising over £5000.
This year, black mental health was sadly brought into sharper focus, strikingly for us with the passing of our friend and colleague Olisa Odukwe, who lost his battle with mental health at just 20 years old. It made this initiative even more important to us – losing Oli reinvigorated our desire to make it a success. In its aftermath, we are so pleased to have not only helped fund therapy courses for Black individuals, but also made more people aware of the services that BMM offer.
What does the future look like for Young Goat?
For us right now, the main target is increasing our product range – more colours, more designs and more items. We would also love to establish a Women’s section on our website, as although our clothes are unisex in style, they are men’s sizes, so some more fitted clothes for women is a big target of ours.
Overall, the future looks exciting. We feel we have a good solid foundation, in large part thanks to the work we did on the NEC, so now it is all about breaking the next ceiling to keep growing!